The University has agreed to subsidize security fees for an allegedly anti-LGBT conference, after the spring quarter event was initially denied funding by the Graduate Student Council (GSC) and the Undergraduate Senate amidst community protests and subsequently assessed a $5,600 security fee.
The Stanford Anscombe Society (SAS)’s April conference, titled “Communicating Values,” has a two-fold purpose, according to SAS president Judith Romea ’14, between educating attendees on the public policy issues surrounding marriage and family and exploring how media, entertainment and technology can be used to better facilitate the communication underlying marriage and the family.
However, some students criticized the speaker list–which included Robert Lopez, Kellie Fiedorek and Ryan Anderson–as controversial and potentially threatening to the safety of Stanford’s queer population. Both the GSC and the Senate subsequently rejected SAS’ funding requests, and the University levied a $5,600 security fee on SAS as the event’s organizer.
However, on March 20, SAS announced that the University would subsidize security at the conference, shortly after the group had reached out to Provost John Etchemendy Ph.D. ’82 to protest the alleged “tax on free speech.” The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) also sent a letter to President John Hennessy arguing that both the Constitution and California’s Leonard Law required Stanford to support the event.
“We are delighted that Stanford University has demonstrated its continuing commitment to free speech by providing appropriate security for our event, rather than forcing us to pay for our own safety on campus,” Romea said in a statement, noting that University funding for security will remove the need for SAS to scale back the conference’s programming.